Three weeks ago sources revealed that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving Parks and Recreation midway through its upcoming sixth season. News about the impending departure of unlucky in love Ann Perkins and perfectionist City Manager Chris Traeger was expectedly met with some sadness and disappointment by devoted Parks and Rec fans. The cast of the NBC comedy has developed into one of the strongest ensembles on television, and, with the exit of The Office and 30 Rock last season, Parks and Rec is poised to be NBC’s number one workplace comedy, with the citizens of Pawnee providing the most colorful and entertaining array of recurring characters and bit parts this side of Greendale Community College. Losing two main cast members is a bit of surprise, a curious altering of a formula that seemed to be working so well. But here’s the thing: we actual welcome the change, as it will solve the show’s most glaring problem, a significant flaw that has existed since episode one: what do you do with a problem like Rashida?
Tag Archives: The Office
We very clearly remember the moment that we fell for The Office, the NBC stalwart that closes up shop at Dunder Mifflin tonight after nine mostly great seasons. It was the fall of 2005, when The Office was starting to find its legs after a rocky and uneven six episode first season, and we in our first autumn post-college, back at our parents’, and for the first time since we were four-years-old not attending school. We were at our best friend and future roommate’s house, hanging out, maybe barbecuing, maybe drinking a few beers, maybe watching the first season of Lost on DVD, which dominated much of our time (and thoughts) during that period. We knew about the The Office, another blatant attempt to import a UK hit stateside, but missed its brief run earlier that year, as was the case with the aforementioned Lost, as the only shows we watched religiously during our final year of college (and last few months before true adulthood) were The Simpsons and Survivor. We did, however, recall reading that it was an imperfect translation of the original, and the Steve Carell-led vehicle – who was then best known as the other Steve from The Daily Show – was not likely to resurrect NBC Thursday night Must See TV, let alone make it past Season 2. So with the middling reviews in mind, and the fact that we were unfamiliar with the original Ricky Gervais version, we didn’t go out of our way to watch the show. But that night changed everything.
Just one of our routine check-ins to see if Jimmy Fallon and Late Night are still killing, just in case you were concerned they were getting cocky or complacent after being named The Tonight Show successors. Let’s take a look.
Nope. Still killing it. Good job, guys. Everyone on the floor as well.
After the stunning, shocking, game-changing Tribal Council that saw Team Bro play three Immunities and send Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip packing on the previous Survivor: Caramoan, Eddie thought that before everyone started strategizing and scrambling he’d just deliver one of his classic zingers to lighten the mood.
That Eddie. 2 much. And 2 Legit 2 Quit.
But the good vibes don’t last too long. The next morning Brenda wakes up just super cranky. Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed! Or maybe she saw something that freaked her out. Wonder what that could have been…
Late at night last week we were absent-mindedly watching a rerun of The Office (“The Delivery, Part 2“), which is something we don’t often do. However, our decision paid dividends when something caught our eye during a commercial break, an apparent allusion to another NBC Thursday Night comedy. Thirteen seconds into a Honda Accord spot featuring two preternaturally mature, Wes Anderson-esque children, we just barely noticed the distinct markings of a potato chip brand recently featured on Community, that being the preferred chip of Troy, Let’s.
A couple enhanced screenshots:
Let’s Chips has actually popped up several times in the show, including in Season 4 when it was reviewed during the end credits tag by Greendale’s foremost nonagenarian and Korean War Vet (North Korean side), Leonard. The verdict was a firm “Buy,” advice that was clearly heeded by Dean Pelton and Troy. Britta, however, insists on sticking with her far inferior “Spwingles” brand chips, driving a potentially insurmountable wedge between her and Troy.
So what gives? Is this a wink to Community? A subliminal message intended to subvert viewers into watching the show against their will, thereby giving the series hope for a fifth season? Or has the Community soundstage already been shut down and dismantled, the props sold off to highest car commercial bidder? Should we expect to see Yard-Margs from Skeepers in an Daewoo commercial?
Or, perhaps, this a clue, an easter egg, showing that the world of Greendale is far greater than we ever imagined.
Backdoor pilots have always been a common way to launch new television series. Sometimes they work, most of the time they don’t. Which was the case with The Farm, NBC’s failed attempt to spin-off The Office into a new Dwight-centric, cubicle-free series (they might have been better served spinning-off The Office’s faux-documentary style, as they did with Parks and Recreation to phenomenal results). In honor of The Farm’s brief existence, airing as a regular Office episode last night, we thought we’d take a minute to acknowledge our favorite backdoor pilot, Top of the Heap, which aired during Married with Children’s fifth season and starred a young, pre-Joey Matt LeBlanc (and, of course, the immortal Joseph Bologna). However, unlike The Farm, Top of the Heap was actually picked up, but only for a very brief, six-episode season. A failure still, but a more modest one.
RIP The Farm 2013-2013 Gone, But Soon Forgotten
This week we’re checking in on NBC’s Thursday night comedies as they finish their respective seasons. Today: ‘Parks and Recreation.’
Perhaps the greatest compliment you can offer Parks and Recreation is that it’s no longer referred to as the quasi-Office spin-off (ignore the fact that we just did that in the first sentence). We’re now multiple seasons into an excellent run where Parks and Recreation has cast off the chains of its origins, found its own voice, become its own show, and surpassed its progenitor by all metrics save for Neislen ratings. We still maintain that Community is the best show of the night, but Parks and Rec has not been behind by much, outpacing The Office during its second season.
At the end of Parks and Rec‘s brief, unimpressive first season, we laid out a plan for how the show could not only improve but excel, and we revisited this primer just prior to the start of the show’s brilliant third season. We also presented three more key points as the show moved forward and they were as follows:
This week we’re looking back on the just completed/completing seasons of NBC’s Thursday night comedies. Today we check in the senior member of the team, ‘The Office.’
For quite some time we were religious with our Office recaps, but then two things happened 1) we were working a paid job more than full-time and 2) the show became, well, inessential. We hoped to check-in during Steve Carell’s final season, but analyses was few and far between. But even though we weren’t providing regular reviews, the series was still required viewing. We might not follow-up the next morning with our thoughts, but we were still going out of our way to watch it Thursday night, as much out of habit as desire. But this season, with Carell’s Michael Scott off to Colorado, the show became the least appealing, least critical member of the lineup. Wait til Friday to watch Community? We’d rather not. Skip an episode of Parks and Rec? No way. But go a week without watching the latest The Office? Sure. View an episode of Robert California’s Dunder Mifflin out-of-order? Fine. We just didn’t care that much anymore.
But a funny thing happened at the end of The Office’s eighth season. We were actually invested. We almost felt things, things that just nearly came close to approximating the real emotions that the show’s best seasons elicited. For the first time all year, the series seemed to find its voice.
We’ve admittedly, regrettably, been remiss with our recaps and analysis of NBC’s Thursday night comedies. There was a time when we provided weekly thoughts on ‘The Office’ (luckily our neglect kicked in just around the time when Friday morning post-mortems on that show would have been unbearable) and periodic temperature checks on ‘Parks and Recreation.’ With the season already complete for half of these shows, and the other two concluding their runs this week, we thought it was high time that we put aside some real estate to check in on these programs, starting today with a discussion about ‘Community’ (whose season (and not series) finale airs Thursday night (preceded by two other new episodes and the ’30 Rock’ closer).
NBC announced their Fall 2012 pick ups last week and, despite lots of rumors and hand-wringing, Community will return for a fourth season. That much wasn’t quite a surprise to us. Could NBC have axed the criminally low-rated comedy? Sure, and they would have the cold, emotionless Nielsen numbers to back it up. But, at the same time, they know what they’re getting with Community. Will it ever break out into a Friends or even These Friends of Mine sized hit? Unlikely at this point. But does it have a devoted, die-hard fan base? Absolutely. Attractive cast? You bet. A smart, discerning, relatively affluent audience? We guess. Close to reaching enough episodes for lucrative syndication? Definitely. So the renewal, especially for the 13-episode order it received, is not all that shocking to us. What was unexpected, however, was the announcement at the NBC Upfronts that come this fall Community will be found on Fridays, as the lead-in to…Grimm?
Tonight brings us the long-awaited return our beloved Community, the show that is, if you ask us, far and away the funniest, most innovative show on television (or off television, as the last couple months would have it). While we still had Parks and Recreation, and welcomed back 30 Rock with open arms, Thursday nights just weren’t the same without the Greendale study group, just not as magical.
However, even though we dearly missed the show, and do worry about its chronically low-ratings and tenuous chances of renewal, we were not in panic-mode like some others were over its benching. First off, the show was not canceled, and even though there was no definitive return date when the hiatus was announced, there was never a doubt that it would return this season. Even if the show pulls in dismal ratings (which it unfortunately does), it wouldn’t make much financial sense for NBC to produce a full season and then never air the back half. It’s not like Community will fare much worse than any of their other comedies, save for The Office. So the hiatus was not a punishment, or a really even a threat. Just a business decision, one that NBC scheduling has now applied to Parks and Rec, as that equally wonderful show takes a break til late April.